Kelly Clarkson Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Winning ‘American Idol’

Some people wait a lifetime for a life-changing moment like Kelly Clarkson experienced exactly two decades ago.

And on Sunday, the first-ever winner of “American Idol” commemorated the special anniversary with an emotional statement shared via Instagram.

“Twenty years ago today I won American Idol and it changed the course of my life forever,” the powerhouse vocalist — who went from winning the reality TV singing competition to earning three Grammy Awards — began her post.

“That moment was the door that opened so many access and opportunities, and creative partnerships that I will be grateful for all my days. The family and friendships I’ve created in music and TV over the past 20 years are invaluable to me,” added the 40-year-old host of the Kelly Clarkson Show.

Kelly Clarkson sings on "american idol" the night she won
Kelly Clarkson celebrated the 20th anniversary of winning “American Idol” season 1 on Monday.
Getty Images

Although the “Since U Been Gone” singer feels “abundantly blessed” for the “successes and failures” she has experienced since 2002, she is “most proud [of] and thankful for” the friends who “have become family”.

The recently divorced mother of two thanked that special couple “for their arms that held” [her] when [she] needed it and their hearts that listened to [her] when [she] felt lost.”

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I probably wouldn’t be here at all,” Clarkson noted.

Kelly Clarkson wears a red dress on her titular talk show
The three-time Grammy winner said she is “most proud” of the friends who have “become family.”
Helen Healey/NBC via Getty Image

The Texas native, who won over not only America but also icy judge Simon Cowell, made sure that “every person who voted 20 years ago!”

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she gushed. “I hope you all have people in your life who fill you with laughter, and hope and happiness, and if you don’t feel like you have, then keep looking, ’cause I promise they’re looking for you too . ”

Kelly Clarkson sings at the 2022 NBCUniversal Upfronts in New York City
The talk show host thanked “every person who voted 20 years ago!”
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Despite her massive post-‘Idol’ success, Clarkson managed to stay largely out of the limelight until she filed for divorce from Brandon Blackstock, 45, in June 2020 after nearly seven years of marriage.

The two settled their particularly bitter divorce earlier this year, with Clarkson gaining primary custody of their two children: daughter River, 8, and son Remington, 6.

The hitmaker “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”, who hasn’t released any non-holiday music since 2017, recently promised fans that a new album was on the way.

“I’m just navigating what I feel comfortable putting out,” she explained in June, adding, “I’ve never had such a difficult project.”

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